Calvin Men’s Soccer Falls to Ohio Wesleyan 2-1 in NCAA III Championship Final
Saturday, December 03, 2011
(Photo by Emily Daum)Story by Andrew Knot
SAN ANTONIO, TX - After a spellbinding tournament run, the Knights dropped a hard-fought National Championship match to Ohio Wesleyan University.
The two squads got to know each other in the game’s opening half, and it was Ohio Wesleyan who took an early advantage in possession. Still Calvin’s defense held strong; in the 10th minute, after conceding an open net, defender Dan Nederhoed took post on the goal line and blocked a shot to keep the game scoreless.
Minutes later, the Knights generated a similar chance. Sophomore Zach Willis created space in the box and sent a shot towards the far post, but the Ohio Wesleyan defense kept it out of the goal mouth.
Finally, in the late stages of the first half, Ohio Wesleyan got on the board when, off high rebound, senior Travis Wall directed a shot to the net’s bottom corner, breaking the tie. But Wesleyan wasn’t done there, less than two minutes later, Paulo Bucci got free on the wing and lofted a shot into the side netting over Calvin keeper Michael Dolan. The game entered halftime 2-0.
But Calvin came out of the halftime gate strong. The Knights controlled the second half’s opening minutes, culminating in a goal less than six minutes into the half. Willis cut to the top of the box and found freshman Travis Vegter, who after a few touches, scored his fifth goal of the tournament on a low strike to the far post.
Calvin applied continued pressure throughout the half, but was unable to equalize. From outside the box, sophomore Ben Honeycutt volleyed a shot on net, but Wesleyan keeper Paul Hendricks barely pawed it off frame. Late in the half, senior Brad Heethuis rifled a strike that Hendricks deflected it off target, marking Calvin’s last good chance.
“I thought it was a tale of two halves,” said Calvin Coach Chris Hughes. [Ohio Wesleyan] took advantage of a couple of opportunities.”
Hughes also praised his senior class, one that has achieved unmatched success for a Calvin soccer class.
“This class is one which has absolutely no fear. What a fantastic class,” he concluded.
After the game, Dan Nederhoed, Lawrence Murray, and Travis Vegter were named to the All-Tournament Team.